Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas Trees...

My favourite part of Christmas  is putting up and decorating the tree! I love unwrapping all the ornaments and even finding some you had forgotten you bought! I don't like to clutter the rooms with too much as sometimes it can feel a bit claustrophobic! I am a firm believer that less is more!  We always have two large trees, one in the living room and another in the dining area. These are a few of my favourite photos which have given me some lovely inspiration...










images via

   As my sunroom is a little small for a big tree, I am going to try and create something similar to the ones in the last photo above. I already have a little twig tree so I must go on the hunt for a nice container. I can't wait to get started, and I am depending on" himself " to go up to the attic later and pass down the boxes of decorations! :) I think he will be sorry he took today off  work somehow!!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Loving...

Here are a few of my favourites this week...

 Clarins hand cream...My best friend at this time of year!


My warm cosy throw...


These little Christmas talking bears who have made an appearance on my couch...


 Tom Ford nail polish in Bordeaux lust... Perfect for Christmas

I hope everyone has a great day!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Some weekend bits....


Hi all! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I certainly did anyhow:)... taking some much needed time out to chill a little and  I feel rather refreshed today!  There were some very leisurely mornings which involved a lot of coffee drinking and paper reading!

  In between I managed to get a little cleaning done ahead of the decorations going up next weekend! I can't believe it is only four weeks to Christmas!!
 As the weather was quite mild  for this time of year we were able to go on a lovely afternoon walk yesterday:)


I hope everyone has a great week!!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Friday Eye Candy....

Happy weekend everyone! I am currently on the hunt for a nice dress to wear on Christmas day . Last year I decided to wear a tunic jumper with jeans and boots, but somehow it just didn't feel the same as donning  a new dress and heels! Here are a few pretties I have spotted so far...




Two of my favourite black dresses from Oasis.com.




A lovely teardrop neckline from Zara...



 Love the berry tone of this chiffon number from Wallis...

And  here are a few bits to go with them...



Sequin Jacket from Topshop.






My  shoes


My ankle boots...
I already bought new ankle boots  and I have my swede shoes with ribbons as well ( pictured above.) All I am looking for now is a narrow fitting pair of knee high black boots as I have very skinny calves and every boot I have tried so far are too wide! They look like I am wearing wellies!!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Happy shopping to all in America on this Black Friday!!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Apple and Cinnamon turnovers...


There is something about apple and cinnamon mixed together at this time of year. The aroma while baking immediately makes me think of christmas and all the happy memories it conjures up. These are  tasty and sweet little bites to enjoy on these cooler winter days...

Ingredients.

2 sheets of puff pastry thawed
3 large apples chopped and stewed.
1 tsp cinnamon 
golden sugar for sprinkling
egg wash to glaze

Method...

Stew apples in a pot on the hob and add 1 tsp of cinnamon to mixture. Leave to cool in a bowl until needed.
Roll out the pastry and cut out about 6 rectangles. Glaze with beaten egg and fill with the stewed apple mixture. Fold over to make little pockets and seal edges. Glaze again and place on a greased baking sheet .Bake in a hot oven 180c for about 15 mins until puffed and golden .Sprinkle with golden caster sugar before serve


I think these would be lovely with a glass of festive mulled wine!


Wishing everyone in America a fabulous Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Bathing Beauties...

Inspired by that nap bar in Paris on my previous post I have found some lovely goodies on offer this season for indulging in a little "me" time.We can all get a little stressed out and frazzled  in the run up to the festive season, so what better way to take time out, than to languish in a luxurious foamy bath?! Here are some fab beauties to add to your shopping list...

Cranberry gift set from The Body shop...

Cinnamon hot toddy bubble bath by Philosophy...




 Light a few scented candles...


Throw on a gorgeous robe...


Now if only this was my bathroom!!!

Have a lovely day!:)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Caught Napping...

I read over the weekend that a young Parisien couple have opened the first ever Nap Bar in Paris. Anyone hit by a mid-afternoon slump can enter this haven and lie on a massage bed of jade stones or be uplifted in a motorised massage chair. In the background , soft music and subdued lighting add to the zen-like atmosphere. How could one not emerge feeling rejuvenated and energetic!!


A nice place to visit on a Monday don't you think? Should be one of these in every town and city!!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Saturday Brunch....

 Usually on a Saturday morning I have some French baguettes
leftover from making school lunches
the previous day.
 Rather than let them go to waste, I decided to make
 these french toasts for brunch
or as the kiddos might like to call it "eggy bread" !
It is actually best made with day old bread
rather than a fresh loaf...

Ingredients...
1 thinly sliced french baguette.
2 eggs
2 tbsp of sugar
250ml of milk

Method...

Place eggs and sugar in a shallow bowl and whisk together. Add the milk and continue to whisk until blended. Place your bread slices in the bowl and let them soak up the mixture.



Heat some butter in a frying pan and fry the slices of bread for
 two minutes on each side
until golden in colour.

Serve on a plate garnished with seasonal
 fruit and a light dusting
 of icing sugar.


Hope you all have a lovely November Saturday!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Fab Friday...

I was delighted to wake up this morning and discover that I have nothing major on the cards for the next few days! Don't we all love a weekend like that once in a while to recharge the batteries? I will try to do a bit of reorganising ahead of decorating for the festive season. I also want to get stuck into reading a good book something I haven't had much time for lately! For now I am off to buy a nice bunch of flowers while shopping to brighten my day:)

 Via

 I wish you all a beautiful weekend!!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

winter warmers...

As the days are getting way shorter, and the nights becoming much colder and darker here are a few things that are currently top of my winter wishlist...

Rachel Allens new cookbook... full of great warming family meals. I love her laid back style and simple, easy to follow recipes...


 Jo Malones pine and eucalyptus scented candles and room spray. I love the aroma of eucalyptus... so calming and relaxing.

A gorgeous sheepskin cushion from The White Company. We all need to add an extra little bit of comfort when relaxing on the sofa in the evening!


Fabulous wool blankets from Plumo. My feet are constantly freezing, so a couple of throws and warm blankets would be great to snuggle up in!

Great winter warmers and lovely gift ideas for the festive season ahead!!.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sticky Gingerbread loaf...


My Grandmother wasn't a big fan of making dinners but one thing she always insisted on were homemade cakes for teatime. This gingerbread recipe was adapted from an old one of hers and a favourite of mine also. It is a  fairly easy one to follow and I can guarantee a lovely smell will waft from your oven while it is baking...

Ingredients.
225g of plain flour
125g butter
2 eggs
4 tbsp of treacle
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp of warm milk

Method...
Line a 21b loaf tin and preheat the oven to160c. Beat butter until soft. Add eggs,sugar and treacle. Blend until well mixed.
Stir in ginger and flour.
Add the warm milk and mix all the ingredients together until well blended.
Put in cake tin and bake in the oven for about 1 hour until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack and wrap in greaseproof paper to keep it moist and sticky.





A lovely treat for an afternoon cup of tea especially when you add butter or a drizzle of honey!!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Mirror Mirror...

When it comes to the final touches in a room I think there is no easier or quicker way to add interest and light than with a good mirror. It can give a plain space an instant touch of glamour and give a whole new look to an old scheme if placed in the correct position. Here is some inspiration I love..                                                                       



  






In all these photos the mirrors are fairly large but I love how they make such a statement in the room! A great investment piece for anyone decorating a new space or trying to inject some interest into a tired area!

Images via Pinterest and Hgtv.com.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Weekend Recap...

                                                                                         
Friday we kicked off with Shanes debs. Himself and Claire looked fantastic and had a brilliant night. I didnt see him until lunch time the next day so it must have been good!



On Saturday I tried out a new creamy pasta dish. I must post this recipe at some stage as it was another quick and easy dinner!


I also caved in and ate my first mince pie! Usually I try to wait until the end of November but I couldn't resist buying these gorgeous puff pastry ones!:)

Yesterday we hit Dublin for a day of fashion and beauty at a Girls in the City event.We enjoyed watching the fashion shows and trawling through loads of beauty counters selling all sorts of goodies!

 I saw a lovely sparkly jacket on the fashion rails which would have been great for Christmas, but they didn't have my size and I am still searching for my perfect black boots!



 I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Happy Weekend...


Tonight Shane is going to his own debs ball. I will be busy cooking and getting things ready as we are having a few people over to see him off. I am on a bit of a go slow as I was out last night!! He will be bringing his girlfriend Claire, and they had her debs back in September so they are well prepared for the routine this time around! I wish them all the best and hope they have a lovely evening...

Tomorrow I am hoping to do a little bit of shopping as I haven't had much time lately to have a good look around. There seems to be some great bargains still on offer in our local boutiques! I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Girls night Out...



 This evening a few of us that regularly meet for coffee time are having a get together for a meal. Most of the restaurants do early bird menus so we will be heading to our favourite one above before 7 to eat, then going on for a few drinks later. Better not be to late as tomorrow is still a school day!!




The picture above always reminds me of the fun and mad nights out I had with the girls when I was working in Cork. It's hanging in my laundry/utility room and  always makes me smile when I go in (which is pretty often I might add!).

Hope you all have a lovely day!!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tasty Bites...



On Friday I will be having a few people in for drinks and appetizers as Shane has his own debs ball that evening. I  spotted these amazing mediterranean hors d'oeuvres online and was dying to try them out. So I gave it a go last night and here is my version which turned out to be very simple to make...

First I lined a muffin tin with circles of rolled out puff pastry.Just cut to size and mould them in to make a little nest. I filled 12 just to try them out...





Next I made  two fillings which were, Pesto and mozzarella cheese and bacon,onion and slow roasted tomatoes.
For the pesto filling I just used a lovely jar of readymade pesto I had bought and never tried, filled the cases with a tsp and sliced mozzarella cheese over the top.
For the second filling I diced bacon rashers and fried with a chopped onion on a pan.I roasted baby tomatoes in the oven with olive oil for 15mins.Then added these to the bacon and onion  mix before filling the cases...


Bake in a hot oven 200c for about 15 mins until pastry is puffy and golden brown.




I'm delighted with the result, as I really just threw caution to the wind and used ingredients that I had in the house already!! I think I ate about three ... ( I'm not saying for sure!) when they emerged from the oven :) I plan on making a fresh batch Friday morning and think they'd be lovely served with a bottle of chilled cava!




  A great little appetizer for all the party nights ahead!!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A Frosty Start....



The last few mornings have been decidedly cold and frosty over here. Winter seemed to appear all of a shot. Here are a few little bits that are making my early morning starts a little cosier...




 I love these little tubs of porridge first thing. Just add hot milk or water and away I go. This one had added seeds so I should be feeling a whole lot healthier and energetic today!



 This new instant coffee is so handy! All the flavour of the machine version in a little can! My trusty travel mug is also a great standby for the car on these cold mornings.








I love looking out the kitchen window first thing at the winter colour in the garden. The plants seem to stand out more than usual against the grey cooler backgrounds! Sometimes it really is the simplest things that can lift your spirits!! So what warms your heart and gets you moving on these chilly mornings?